[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The anti-inflammatory effects of progesterone have been increasingly recognized in several neuropathological models, including spinal cord inflammation. In the present investigation, we explored the regulation of proinflammatory factors and enzymes by progesterone at several time points after spinal cord injury (SCI) in male rats. We also demonstrated the role of the progesterone receptor (PR) in inhibiting inflammation and reactive gliosis, and in enhancing the survival of oligodendrocyte progenitors cells (OPC) in injured PR knockout (PRKO) mice receiving progesterone. First, after SCI in rats, progesterone greatly attenuated the injury-induced hyperexpression of the mRNAs of interleukin 1β (IL1β), IL6, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), all involved in oligodendrocyte damage. Second, the role of the PR was investigated in PRKO mice after SCI, in which progesterone failed to reduce the high expression of IL1β, IL6, TNFα and IκB-α mRNAs, the latter being considered an index of reduced NF-κB transactivation. These effects occurred in a time framework coincident with a reduction in the astrocyte and microglial responses. In contrast to wild-type mice, progesterone did not increase the density of OPC and did not prevent apoptotic death of these cells in PRKO mice. Our results support a role of PR in: (a) the anti-inflammatory effects of progesterone; (b) the modulation of astrocyte and microglial responses and (c) the prevention of OPC apoptosis, a mechanism that would enhance the commitment of progenitors to the remyelination pathway in the injured spinal cord.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous work has shown a reduction of apical dendritic length and spine density in neurons from the CA1 hippocampus subfield of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). These abnormalities are prevented by treatment for 2 weeks with 17 β -estradiol. In view of the fact that diabetes and hypertension are comorbid diseases, we have now studied the effect of Streptozotocin-induced diabetes on the dendritic tree and spines of CA1 hippocampus neurons, and also compared the regulation of these parameters by 17 β -estradiol in diabetic and normoglycemic SHR. Twenty week old male SHR received iv 40 mg/kg Streptozotocin or vehicle and studied one month afterwards. A group of normoglycemic and hyperglycemic SHR also received sc a single 17 β -estradiol pellet or vehicle for 2 weeks. Hippocampus sections were impregnated with silver nitrate following a modified Golgís method and the arbor of CA1 pyramidal neurons analyzed by the Sholĺs method. 17 β -estradiol treatment of normoglycemic SHR reversed the reduced length of apical dendrites, the low spine density and additionally decreased blood pressure. Diabetic SHR showed increased length of apical and basal dendrites but reduced spine density compared to normoglycemic SHR. Diabetes also decreased blood pressure of SHR. Treatment with 17 β -estradiol of diabetic SHR enhanced dendritic length, increased dendritic spine density and further decreased blood pressure. Thus, changes of cytoarchitecture of CA1 neurons due to 17 β -estradiol treatment of normoglycemic SHR persisted after diabetes induction. A decrease of blood pressure may also contribute to the central effects of 17 β -estradiol in SHR diabetic rats.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estrogens are neuroprotective factors for brain diseases, including hypertensive encephalopathy. In particular, the hippocampus is highly damaged by high blood pressure, with several hippocampus functions being altered in humans and animal models of hypertension. Working with a genetic model of primary hypertension, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR), we have shown that SHR present decreased dentate gyrus neurogenesis, astrogliosis, low expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), decreased number of neurons in the hilus of the dentate gyrus, increased basal levels of the estrogen-synthesizing enzyme aromatase, and atrophic dendritic arbour with low spine density in the CA1 region compared to normotensive Wistar Kyoto (WKY) ratsl. Changes also occur in the hypothalamus of SHR, with increased expression of the hypertensinogenic peptide arginine vasopressin (AVP) and its V1b receptor. Following chronic estradiol treatment, SHR show decreased blood pressure, enhanced hippocampus neurogenesis, decreased the reactive astrogliosis, increased BDNF mRNA and protein expression in the dentate gyrus, increased neuronal number in the hilus of the dentate gyrus, further increased the hyperexpression of aromatase and replaced spine number with remodelling of the dendritic arbour of the CA1 region. We have detected by qPCR the estradiol receptors ERα and ERβ in hippocampus from both SHR and WKY rats, suggesting direct effects of estradiol on brain cells. We hypothesize that a combination of exogenously given estrogens plus those locally synthesized by estradiol-stimulated aromatase may better alleviate the hippocampal and hypothalamic encephalopathy of SHR.
No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progesterone is an anti-inflammatory and promyelinating agent after spinal cord injury but its effectiveness on functional recovery is still controversial. In the current study, we tested the effects of chronic progesterone administration on tissue preservation and functional recovery in a clinically relevant model of spinal cord lesion (thoracic contusion). Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging we observed that progesterone reduced both volume and rostrocaudal extension of the lesion at 60 days post-injury. In addition, progesterone increased the number of total mature oligodendrocytes, myelin basic protein immunoreactivity and the number of axonal profiles at the epicenter of the lesion. Furthermore, progesterone treatment significantly improved motor outcome as assessed using the Basso-Bresnahan-Beattie scale for locomotion and CatWalk gait analysis. These data suggest that progesterone could be considered a promising therapeutical candidate for spinal cord injury.
No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Journal of neurotrauma
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reactive gliosis, demyelination and proliferation of NG2+ oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPC) are common responses to spinal cord injury (SCI). We previously reported that short-term progesterone treatment stimulates OPC proliferation whereas chronic treatment enhances OPC differentiation after SCI. Presently, we further studied the proliferation/differentiation of glial cells involved in inflammation and remyelination in male rats with SCI subjected to acute (3 days) or chronic (21 days) progesterone administration. Rats received several pulses of bromodeoyuridine (BrdU) 48 and 72 h post-SCI, and sacrificed 3 or 21 days post-SCI. Double colocalization of BrdU and specific cell markers showed that 3 days of SCI induced a strong proliferation of S100β+ astrocytes, OX-42+ microglia/macrophages and NG2+ cells. At this stage, the intense GFAP+ astrogliosis was BrdU negative. Twenty one days of SCI enhanced maturation of S100β+ cells into GFAP+ astrocytes, but decreased the number of CC1+ oligodendrocytes. Progesterone treatment inhibited astrocyte and microglia /macrophage proliferation and activation in the 3-day SCI group, and inhibited activation in the 21-day SCI group. BrdU/NG2 double labeled cells were increased by progesterone at 3 days, indicating a proliferation stimulus, but decreased them at 21 days. However, progesterone-enhancement of CC1+/BrdU+ oligodendrocyte density, suggest differentiation of OPC into mature oligondendrocytes. We conclude that progesterone effects after SCI involves: a) inhibition of astrocyte proliferation and activation; b) anti-inflammatory effects by preventing microglial activation and proliferation, and c) early proliferation of NG2+ progenitors and late remyelination. Thus, progesterone behaves as a glioactive factor favoring remyelination and inhibiting reactive gliosis.
No preview · Article · Jun 2011 · Experimental Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pregnant women with multiple sclerosis (MS) show disease remission in the third trimester concomitant with high circulating levels of sex steroids. Rodent experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an accepted model for MS. Previous studies have shown that monotherapy with estrogens or progesterone exert beneficial effects on EAE. The aim of the present study was to determine if estrogen and progesterone cotherapy of C57BL/6 female mice provided substantial protection from EAE.
A group of mice received single pellets of progesterone (100 mg) and 17 β-estradiol (2.5 mg) subcutaneously 1 week before EAE induction, whereas another group were untreated before EAE induction. On day 16 we compared the two EAE groups and control mice in terms of clinical scores, spinal cord demyelination, expression of myelin basic protein and proteolipid protein, macrophage cell infiltration, neuronal expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor mRNA and protein, and the number of glial fribrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-immunopositive astrocytes.
Clinical signs of EAE were substantially attenuated by estrogen and progesterone treatment. Steroid cotherapy prevented spinal cord demyelination, infiltration of inflammatory cells and GFAP+ astrogliocytes to a great extent. In motoneurons, expression of BDNF mRNA and protein was highly stimulated, indicating concomitant beneficial effects of the steroid on neuronal and glial cells.
Cotherapy with estrogen and progesterone inhibits the development of major neurochemical abnormalities and clinical signs of EAE. We suggest that a combination of neuroprotective, promyelinating and immuno-suppressive mechanisms are involved in these beneficial effects.
No preview · Article · Jan 2010 · Hormone molecular biology and clinical investigation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the Wobbler mouse, a mutation in the Vps54 gene is accompanied by motoneuron degeneration and astrogliosis in the cervical spinal cord. Previous work has shown that these abnormalities are greatly attenuated by progesterone treatment of clinically afflicted Wobblers. However, whether progesterone is effective at all disease stages has not yet been tested. The present work used genotyped (wr/wr) Wobbler mice at three periods of the disease: early progressive (1-2 months), established (5-8 months) or late stages (12 months) and age-matched wildtype controls (NFR/NFR), half of which were implanted with a progesterone pellet (20 mg) for 18 days. In untreated Wobblers, degenerating vacuolated motoneurons were initially abundant, experienced a slight reduction at the established stage and dramatically diminished during the late period. In motoneurons, the cholinergic marker choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) was reduced at all stages of the Wobbler disease, whereas hyperexpression of the growth-associated protein (GAP43) mRNA preferentially occurred at the early progressive and established stages. Progesterone therapy significantly reduced motoneuron vacuolation, enhanced ChAT immunoreactive perikarya and reduced the hyperexpression of GAP43 during the early progressive and established stages. At all stage periods, untreated Wobblers showed high density of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)+ astrocytes and decreased number of glutamine synthase (GS) immunostained cells. Progesterone treatment down-regulated GFAP+ astrocytes and up-regulated GS+ cell number. These data reinforced the usefulness of progesterone to improve motoneuron and glial cell abnormalities of Wobbler mice and further showed that therapeutic benefit seems more effective at the early progressive and established periods, rather than on advance stages of spinal cord neurodegeneration.
No preview · Article · Sep 2009 · Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an induced model of Multiple Sclerosis presents spinal cord demyelination, axonal pathology and neuronal dysfunction. Previous work has shown that progesterone attenuated the clinical severity, demyelination and neuronal dysfunction of EAE mice (Garay et al., J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol., 2008). Here we studied if progesterone also prevented axonal damage, a main cause of neurological disability. To this end, some axonal parameters were compared in EAE mice pretreated with progesterone a week before immunization with MOG(40-54) and in a group of steroid-free EAE mice. On day 16th after EAE induction, we determined in both groups and in control mice: a) axonal density in semithin sections of the spinal cord ventral funiculus; b) appearance of amyloid precursor protein (APP) immunopositive spheroids as an index of damaged axons; c) levels of the growth associated protein GAP43 mRNA and immunopositive cell bodies, as an index of aberrant axonal sprouting. Steroid-naive EAE mice showed decreased axonal density, shrunken axons, abundance of irregular vesicular structures, degenerating APP+ axons, increased expression of GAP43 mRNA and immunoreactive protein in motoneurons. Instead, EAE mice receiving progesterone treatment showed increased axonal counts, high proportion of small diameter axons, reduced APP+ profiles, and decreased GAP43 expression. In conclusion, progesterone enhanced axonal density, decreased axonal damage and prevented GAP43 hyperexpression in the spinal cord of EAE mice. Thus, progesterone also exerts protective effects on the axonal pathology developing in EAE mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progesterone is emerging as a myelinizing factor for central nervous system injury. Successful remyelination requires proliferation and differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPC) into myelinating oligodendrocytes, but this process is incomplete following injury. To study progesterone actions on remyelination, we administered progesterone (16 mg/kg/day) to rats with complete spinal cord injury. Rats were euthanized 3 or 21 days after steroid treatment. Short progesterone treatment (a) increased the number of OPC without effect on the injury-induced reduction of mature oligodendrocytes, (b) increased mRNA and protein expression for the myelin basic protein (MBP) without effects on proteolipid protein (PLP) or myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), and (c) increased the mRNA for Olig2 and Nkx2.2 transcription factors involved in specification and differentiation of the oligodendrocyte lineage. Furthermore, long progesterone treatment (a) reduced OPC with a concomitant increase of oligodendrocytes; (b) promoted differentiation of cells that incorporated bromodeoxyuridine, early after injury, into mature oligodendrocytes; (c) increased mRNA and protein expression of PLP without effects on MBP or MOG; and (d) increased mRNA for the Olig1 transcription factor involved in myelin repair. These results suggest that early progesterone treatment enhanced the density of OPC and induced their differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes by increasing the expression of Olig2 and Nkx2.2. Twenty-one days after injury, progesterone favors remyelination by increasing Olig1 (involved in repair of demyelinated lesions), PLP expression, and enhancing oligodendrocytes maturation. Thus, progesterone effects on oligodendrogenesis and myelin proteins may constitute fundamental steps for repairing traumatic injury inflicted to the spinal cord.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abnormalities of hippocampus and hypothalamus are commonly observed in rats with genetic (SHR) or mineralocorticoid/salt-induced hypertension. In the hippocampus, changes include decreased cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus (DG), astrogliosis and decreased neuronal density in the hilus, whereas in the hypothalamus expression of arginine vasopressin (AVP) is markedly elevated. Here, we report that estradiol treatment overturns these abnormalities. We used 16-week-old male SHR with blood pressure (BP) approximately 190 mmHg and their normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) controls, and male Sprague-Dawley rats made hypertensive by administration of 10mg deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA) every other day plus 1% NaCl as drinking fluid for 4 weeks (BP approximately 160 mmHg). Controls received oil vehicle plus 1% NaCl only. Half of the animals in each group were implanted s.c. with a single estradiol benzoate pellet weighing 14 mg for 2 weeks. Estradiol-treated SHR and DOCA-salt rats showed, in comparison to their respective steroid-free groups: (a) enhanced proliferation in the DG measured by bromodeoxyuridine incorporation; (b) decreased number of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunopositive astrocytes; (c) increased density of neurons in the hilus of the DG, and (d) decreased hypothalamic AVP mRNA expression. These results indicate that neuronal and glial alterations of hypertensive models are plastic events reversible by steroid treatment. The estradiol protective effects may be of pharmacological interest to attenuate the consequences of hypertensive encephalopathy.
No preview · Article · May 2008 · Psychoneuroendocrinology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on evidence that pregnant women with multiple sclerosis (MS) show a decline in the relapse rate during the third trimester and an increase during the first 3 months postpartum, the suggestion was made that high levels of circulating sex steroids are responsible for pregnancy-mediated neuroprotection. As both estradiol (E(2)) and progesterone exert neuroprotective and myelinating effects on the nervous system, the effects of sex steroids were studied in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of MS.
EAE was induced in female C57BL/6 mice by administration of a myelin oligodendrocyte protein (MOG(40-45)) peptide. Clinical signs of EAE, myelin protein expression and neuronal parameters were determined in mice with or without hormonal treatment.
Progesterone given prior to EAE induction attenuated the clinical scores of the disease, slightly delayed disease onset and decreased demyelination foci, according to luxol fast blue staining (LFB), myelin basic protein (MBP) and proteolipid protein (PLP) and mRNA expression. Motoneuron expression of Na,K-ATPase mRNA was also enhanced by progesterone. In turn, combined E(2) plus progesterone therapy more effectively prevented neurological deficits, fully restored LFB staining, MBP and PLP immunoreactivity and avoided inflammatory cell infiltration. On the neuronal side, steroid biotherapy increased brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA.
Early treatment with progesterone alone or more evidently in combination with E(2) showed a clinical benefit and produced myelinating and neuroprotective effects in mice with MOG(40-45)-induced EAE. Therefore, sex steroids should be considered as potential novel therapeutic strategies for MS.
No preview · Article · Feb 2008 · NeuroImmunoModulation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spinal cord is a target of progesterone (PROG), as demonstrated by the expression of intracellular and membrane PROG receptors and by its myelinating and neuroprotective effects in trauma and neurodegeneration. Here we studied PROG effects in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of multiple sclerosis characterized by demyelination and immune cell infiltration in the spinal cord. Female C57BL/6 mice were immunized with a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide (MOG(40-54)). One week before EAE induction, mice received single pellets of PROG weighing either 20 or 100 mg or remained free of steroid treatment. On average, mice developed clinical signs of EAE 9-10 days following MOG administration. The spinal cord white matter of EAE mice showed inflammatory cell infiltration and circumscribed demyelinating areas, demonstrated by reductions of luxol fast blue (LFB) staining, myelin basic protein (MBP) and proteolipid protein (PLP) immunoreactivity (IR) and PLP mRNA expression. In motoneurons, EAE reduced the expression of the alpha 3 subunit of Na,K-ATPase mRNA. In contrast, EAE mice receiving PROG showed less inflammatory cell infiltration, recovery of myelin proteins and normal grain density of neuronal Na,K-ATPase mRNA. Clinically, PROG produced a moderate delay of disease onset and reduced the clinical scores. Thus, PROG attenuated disease severity, and reduced the inflammatory response and the occurrence of demyelination in the spinal cord during the acute phase of EAE.
No preview · Article · Nov 2007 · The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The influence of diabetes mellitus on brain pathology is increasingly recognized. Previous contributions of our laboratory demonstrated in models of type 1 diabetes (nonobese diabetic and streptozotocin (STZ)-treated mice), a marked astrogliosis and neurogenesis deficit in hippocampus and increased expression of hypothalamic neuropeptides. In the present investigation, we further analyzed alterations of astroglia and neurons in the hippocampus of mice 1 month after STZ-induced diabetes. Results showed that these STZ-diabetic mice presented: (a) increased number of astrocytes positive for apolipoprotein-E (Apo-E), a marker of ongoing neuronal dysfunction; (b) abnormal expression of early gene products associated with neuronal activation, including a high number of Jun + neurons in CA1 and CA3 layers and dentate gyrus, and of Fos-expressing neurons in CA3 layer; (c) augmented activity of NADPH-diaphorase, linked to oxidative stress, in CA3 region. These data support the concept that uncontrolled diabetes leads to hippocampal pathology, which adjoin to changes in other brain structures such as hypothalamus and cerebral cortex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mineralocorticoid effects in the brain include the control of cardiovascular functions, induction of salt appetite, interaction with the vasoactive neuropeptides arginine vasopressin (AVP) and angiotensin II and development or aggravation of hypertension. In this regard, mineralocorticoids may play a pathogenic role in rats with a genetic form of hypertension (spontaneously hypertensive rats, SHR). Our objective was to compare the response of the hypothalamic vasopressinergic system to mineralocorticoid administration in SHR and control Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats. Sixteen-week-old male SHR showing a systolic blood pressure of 190 ± 5 mm Hg and normotensive WKY rats (130 ± 5 mm Hg) were treated subcutaneously with oil vehicle or a single 10-mg dose of deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA). After 2 h, rats were sacrificed and brains prepared for immunocytochemistry of Fos and vasopressin V1a receptor (V1aR) and for non-isotopic in situ hybridization of AVP mRNA. In the basal state, SHR demonstrated a higher number of AVP mRNA- and V1aR-immunopositive cells in the magno-cellular division of the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVN) than WKY rats. After DOCA injection, SHR responded with a significant increase in both parameters with respect to vehicle-injected SHR. In WKY rats, DOCA was without effect on AVP mRNA although it increased the number of V1aR-positive cells. Changes in the number of Fos-positive nuclei were measured in the PVN, median preoptic nucleus (MnPO) and organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis (OVLT), a circumventricular region showing anatomical connections with the PVN. In vehicle-injected rats, the PVN of SHR showed a higher number of Fos-positive nuclei than in WKY rats, whereas after DOCA treatment, a significant increment occurred in the OVLT but not in the PVN or MnPO of the SHR group only. These data suggest that the enhanced response of the vasopressinergic system to mineralocorticoids may contribute to the abnormal blood pressure of SHR.
No preview · Article · Feb 2004 · Neuroendocrinology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diabetes can be associated with cerebral dysfunction in humans and animal models of the disease. Moreover, brain anomalies and alterations of the neuroendocrine system are present in type 1 diabetes (T1D) animals, such as the spontaneous nonobese diabetic (NOD) mouse model and/or the pharmacological streptozotocin (STZ)-induced model. Because of the prevalent role of astrocytes in cerebral glucose metabolism and their intimate connection with neurones, we investigated hippocampal astrocyte alterations in prediabetic and diabetic NOD mice and STZ-treated diabetic mice. The number and cell area related to the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-immunoreactive astrocytes were quantified in the stratum radiatum region of the hippocampus by computerized image analysis in prediabetic (2, 4 and 8 weeks of age) and diabetic (16-week-old) NOD female mice, age and sex-matched lymphocyte-deficient NODscid and C57BL/6 control mice and, finally, STZ-induced diabetic and vehicle-treated nondiabetic 16-week-old C57BL/6 female mice. Astrocyte number was higher early in life in prediabetic NOD and NODscid mice than in controls, when transient hyperinsulinemia and low glycemia were found in these strains. The number and cell area of GFAP(+) cells further increased after the onset of diabetes in NOD mice. Similarly, in STZ-treated diabetic mice, the number of GFAP(+) cells and cell area were higher than in vehicle-treated mice. In conclusion, astrocyte changes present in genetic and pharmacological models of T1D appear to reflect an adaptive process to alterations of glucose homeostasis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mineralocorticoids (MC) play an important role in development of salt appetite. Part of this effect involves the hypothalamic paraventricular (PVN) and supraoptic (SON) nuclei, in which MC treatment increases arginine vasopressin (AVP) synthesis and release. Since the AVP system is also modulated by nitric oxide (NO), we studied if deoxycorticosterone acetate (DOCA) treatment changed the number of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-diaphorase (NADPH-d) active neurons and neuronal NO synthase (nNOS)-immunoreactive (IR) cells in the PVN and SON. After four injections of DOCA (10 mg/rat per day), rats developed a salt appetite and increased NADPH-d active and nNOS-IR neurons in both nuclei. A single DOCA injection did not change salt consumption or nNOS-IR cells, but increased the number of NADPH-d positive neurons in the PVN only. Therefore, while acute MC treatment stimulated the activity of pre-existing enzyme, chronic steroid treatment recruited additional neurons showing nNOS immunoreactivity/NADPH-d activity. These data suggest a role for NO produced in the PVN and SON in DOCA stimulatory effects on AVP mRNA and salt appetite.
No preview · Article · Oct 2002 · Neuroscience Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using the KC 146 monoclonal antibody recognizing the B-form of the progesterone receptor (PR) and immunocytochemical techniques, we investigated if PR-immunoreactive cells are present in the rat spinal cord. Neurons from ventral horn Lamina IX, glial cells in gray and white matter and ependymal cells were PR-positive. Evidence for estrogen-inducibility of PR in ovariectomized rats was not observed. There were no significant gender differences in neuronal PR immunostaining intensity in the spinal cord, measured by computerized image analysis. In pituitary and uterus from estrogenized female rats, PR showed a strict nuclear localization, whereas in neurons and glial cells of the spinal cord, PR localized in cytoplasm and/or nucleus and in some cell processes. This receptor may be implicated in some of the biological effects of progesterone described in the spinal cord.
No preview · Article · Aug 2000 · Neuroscience Letters
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progesterone (P4) can be synthesized in both central and peripheral nervous system (PNS) and exerts trophic effects in the PNS. To study its potential effects in the spinal cord, we investigated P4 modulation (4 mg/kg/day for 3 days) of two proteins responding to injury: NADPH-diaphorase, an enzyme with nitric oxide synthase activity, and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a marker of astrocyte reactivity. The proteins were studied at three levels of the spinal cord from rats with total transection (TRX) at T10: above (T5 level), below (L1 level) and caudal to the lesion (L3 level). Equivalent regions were dissected in controls. The number and area of NADPH-diaphorase active or GFAP immunoreactive astrocytes/0.1 mm(2) in white matter (lateral funiculus) or gray matter (Lamina IX) was measured by computerized image analysis. In controls, P4 increased the number of GFAP-immunoreactive astrocytes in gray and white matter at all levels of the spinal cord, while astrocyte area also increased in white matter throughout and in gray matter at the T5 region. In control rats P4 did not change NADPH-diaphorase activity. In rats with TRX and not receiving hormone, a general up-regulation of the number and area of GFAP-positive astrocytes was found at all levels of the spinal cord. In rats with TRX, P4 did not change the already high GFAP-expression. In the TRX group, instead, P4 increased the number and area of NADPH-diaphorase active astrocytes in white and gray matter immediately above and below, but not caudal to the lesion. Thus, the response of the two proteins to P4 was conditioned by environmental factors, in that NADPH-diaphorase activity was hormonally modulated in astrocytes reacting to trauma, whereas up-regulation of GFAP by P4 was produced in resting astrocytes from non-injured animals.
No preview · Article · Jul 2000 · The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aging is associated with a disturbance in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) and reduced levels of glucocorticoid receptors (GR) in the hippocampus. To compensate for these effects, we have investigated whether estrogen therapy normalized the HPA response to stress and GR in hippocampus and paraventricular (PVN) nucleus. Young (3-4 months) and old (20 months) male Sprague-Dawley rats were bled by tail cut in the basal state and following ether stress. While basal and ether-stimulated levels of plasma corticosterone (CORT) were similar in the two groups, old animals presented a delayed termination of the response to ether stress. A dexamethasone inhibition test carried out in old animals, showed a failure to completely block plasma CORT after ether stimulation. Furthermore, in old rats GR-immunoreactive levels were reduced in CA1-CA2 hippocampal subfields and subiculum, while normal levels were obtained in CA3-CA4 and PVN. We observed that prolonged estrogen treatment (6 weeks) of old rats normalized the termination of the stress response, restored dexamethasone inhibition of plasma CORT, and increased GR immunoreactivity in CA1 and CA2 hippocampal subfields and subiculum. The results suggest that estrogen treatment enhanced the glucocorticoid feedback signal by increasing GR in hippocampus, and corrected the disturbances in HPA axis regulation. These animal experiments may be important to elucidate the effects of estrogenic on the hippocampal and HPA dysfunction associated with aging and Alzheimer's disease in humans.
No preview · Article · Mar 1999 · Neuroendocrinology